My last post discussed some of the emotional baggage we carry that can hold us back from self-publishing our work. I’ve thought of a few more things I’d like to say on that topic.
I’m really interested in how the mind works (or doesn’t) and one interesting tidbit I’ve collected is that no matter how rational we like to think we are, our decisions are affected by our emotions. No matter how much rational information you have, until the emotions line up, nothing happens. The funny thing is, this often happens under the covers. For example, I collected information about self-publishing until I was comfortable taking the next step. I had to reach a tipping point where I wanted the opportunity presented by self-publishing, the potential, more than I valued the opinions of the nay-sayers. I decided that moving forward NOW, having control, was worth the additional work, worth sacrificing some of the traditional markers of success like being recognized by professional writing organizations.
For those who haven’t also sold to advance paying publishers, chosing the self-publishing path results in exclusion from “The Club.” No large professional writing organization that I know of (RWA, SFWA, MWA, HWA) recognizes self-published work. Some specifically exclude it. (Disclosure: I’m a member of RWA and despite not recognizing self-published authors, I highly recommend it.) If you’re self-pubbed you can still join some of these organizations, but you won’t be recognized as published. You can’t even attend the Ninc. conference unless you’ve had two books traditionally published. Potentially losing the respect of the people I admire, of never being seen as a peer slowed me down for a while. (Maybe I should submit to just one more agent, one more editor. . . .) I didn’t even realize that wanting to be a member of “The Club” had been a part of my desire to be published until I thought about losing it.
Through my research, I learned that there’s another club composed of knowledgeable and accomplished people who have succeeded by going their own way, and they are not all the looser-wannabes that proponents of traditional publishing paint them to be. (It’s not superficial to need community. We’re social animals, after all.) Through my research I realized that the issue is not all one sided. There are pros and cons to every choice — but for me, now, self-publishing provides a community I want to be part of.
I’m sharing my journey with you so you’ll find your comfort zone more quickly than I did.